Sunday, January 11, 2009
Non-violent has a lot of advantages. It's more effective in the long run. It does not breed more hate. It does not destroy lives and property. It probably costs less than a military.
But I think there are situations where a military would be better.
One advantage of a military is that it can be faster. For example, I have trouble imagining how a non-violent action could have quickly stopped the genocide in Rwanda. A rapid response military team could have saved perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives.
Another situation where a military team might work better is to stop a fighting force that is irrational, with leaders who may be insane or megalomaniacs. A good example is the "Lord's Resistance Army" in Uganda and eastern Congo. An international military incursion would amount to a police action to arrest the leaders of these "rebels" who commit countless atrocities. The followers could then be given help in re-integrating into society.
Presumably an international military force would be less likely than a national army to commit atrocities of its own in the fighting. It would also have the moral weight of international judgments behind it. The rebels would be less able to claim that they are the good guys.
A military force might also be used as a backup to a satyagraha force, in case a local government or rebel force started massacring the members of the satyagraha force. Admittedly this is problematic, because by having such a backup, the satyagraha force loses some of its moral strength.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
A non-violent brigade under the command of a legally constituted world body, such as the United Nations, could be authorized to enforce legal policy decisions of world governing institutions. To use the examples given, we can imagine some kind of non-violent brigade entering a country to inform people of a world-wide ban on genital mutilation, and use some method to enforce that ban.
Likewise, a non-violent brigade could be used to pressure a country to stop polluting.
These uses of strategic non-violence would not be defeating the purpose of non-violence replacing warfare. They would in fact be strengthening that purpose.
For example, suppose a branch of the United Nations decided that female genital mutilation should be banned from the world. Suppose some nation is recalcitrant and refuses to accept this ban. The world-wide military should not be used to invade or threaten such a country, to force them to stop genital mutilation. This would defeat the aim of ending warfare. Other forms of pressure, such as sanctions or shaming, should be used for enforcing policy decisions.
Another example might be one country causing pollution that is harming a neighboring country. The offending nation is likely to be breaking international laws. This should be a matter for an international court, not an army. The court will need to have authority to impose punishments, but not military action.
It is extremely important to spell out in specifically what situations a worldwide military is allowed to intervene, and those situations should be limited to stopping warfare or military repression of civil rights and democracy.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Maybe one way is to spread out the power in a hierarchy of checks and balances.
For example, each major region, such as Africa or South Asia, could have a peace-enforcing military responsible for that region. Sub-regions could also have their military forces. At a higher level, a world-wide force could either reinforce a regional military, or prevent it from turning into a force for repression.
Who would decide when a worldwide military would go into action? What laws and what criteria would be used to make these decisions?
How could we prevent a worldwide military from ruling the world? What if the leadership became corrupted? What checks and balances could be in place to ensure that a military meant to protect us from warfare would instead enslave the world?
Who is already thinking about these questions? What websites and books should we study? What organizations should we join to further this goal?